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Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session AleBallast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

371 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 371
Reviews: 271
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 12.56%
Wants: 11
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 08-07-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 371 | Reviews: 271 | Display Reviews Only:
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3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

04-29-2013 01:34:53 | More by TheBeerAlmanac
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New York

3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

01-14-2012 21:42:30 | More by whartontallboy
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3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

12-20-2012 08:37:29 | More by Pecan
Photo of hpthebull


3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

03-04-2012 05:23:52 | More by hpthebull
Photo of barnzy78


3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

11-22-2011 04:35:34 | More by barnzy78


3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to pint glass. Sampled 10/28/10. $5.50 for the single.

A: A one finger head of foamy white bubbles transforms into a sudsy film over an average amount of time. Moderately hazy, the body is medium dark amber orange with a transparency close to 70%. Lacing is fair.

S: The light malt aromas of toasted bread and caramel stand up just enough in this heavily hopped pale ale. Dominating citrus aromas include grapefruit and orange.

T: The nose carries over to the palate and adds notes of spice, white pepper and dust. The big hop flavor is enhanced by the [particularly] small malt bill, which is just big enough to provide an adequate mouthfeel.

M: Medium light in body, creamy in texture with an average level of effervesence, which promotes the the first two qualities even further. Rather bitter on the finish.

D: Better than average drinkability. Even though San Diego County Session Ale is by no means a spectacular brew, it is very successful as far as the concept and execution are concerned. The impetus of this collaborative brew was to prove that an ABV-challenged brew could be as flavorful as its high-ABV brethren...and it is! However, as others have said, I must agree that this beer is wayyy overpriced for, not just a session beer, but a beer that is just not that great to begin with. A repeat purchase is unlikely.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2011 01:04:12 | More by FeDUBBELFIST
Photo of JayS2629


3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I understand this is a session ale and that explains the light, crisp, watery body. That is ok, but the flavors are out of balance. I know what they were aiming for, and I imagine they hit it, but it was too intense for me.

It poured a clear light amber with a medium head that faded fast and left ok lace.

The smell was of oranges, grapefruit, pine, tangerine and peach with a biscuit and crusty bread underneath.

The taste followed with loads of pine and grapefruit dominating over a strong toast back. Its good, but off balance with the sweet citrus being cloying.

Overall, drinkable but unbalance. Its just ok.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 03:27:52 | More by JayS2629
Photo of HalfFull


3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. Stone 'collaboration' bottle into a large wine glass. Pours a hazy golden copper in color with a half inch of white cap. Light to moderate retention and light lacing follow.

Nose is of piney hops and a light malt presence. Rich hop notes permeate the darkness here but are a bit unsubstantiated and a bit one directional. Much like a SoCal IPA on the nose but without the meatiness that often accompanies. Flavor is spicy and clean though light and with a hint of citrus. Not much body on the scene and with a light lemon finish.

Overall a very hoppy session beer that straddles the wrong line for me. I'd prefer a Tuatara. And even that is a stretch, yet offers more balance.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 04:52:49 | More by HalfFull
Photo of Bung


3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. Brighter gold pour, finger of white head.

Aroma is herbal pine hoppy, pretty much it.

Taste, also herbal and piney hops. Finishes the same. Pretty straight forward.

Lighter bodied, nearly watery thin. Obviously quite drinkable, but I just don't find it all that inviting for another. I'll scacrifice the extra 0.8 abv and drink something with a little more to it.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2010 22:22:37 | More by Bung
Photo of jcurtis55


3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark golden color with a small amount of head. Hops galore in the smell and the taste with lots of bitterness. Lots of flavor and mouthfeel for a beer with only 4.2% alcohol. I’m more of a malt lover, but if you love hops, you’ll likely like this beer a lot.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2011 00:29:22 | More by jcurtis55
Photo of AgentZero


3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Amber colored beer with a one finger white head. Pretty nice lacing on this one.

S - Huge pine notes, a lot stonger hop presence than I was expecting from something called a "session" ale. Decent hops profile, definately heavy on the pine.

T - Pretty solid, a little bit weak, but a very, very hoppy APA. Hops not quite as piney as the smell would indicate. Definate pine, but a good dose of citrus. Taste is nice, but a little watery.

M - Pretty smooth, lighter bodied, moderate carbonation.

D - Highly drinkable, although lack of taste makes this one a little bit less of a winner. Pretty solid session beer though.

Serving type: on-tap

11-08-2010 03:17:07 | More by AgentZero
Photo of chcfan


3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First review in a couple of months. Let's give it this one a go. So, this is the "session beer" by Stone, Ballast Point, and the guy who played Frasier, apparently.

Pours a pale color with a soft, white head that sticks around for a while.

The aroma is really great. Big hop presence and a flavor profile that screams west coast.

There was a big drop off in the taste. It seems as if there was one hop addition at the beginning of the boil and then nothing until it was dry hopped. It is not a harsh bitterness, but it seems to be the only component of the taste.

Not really something I would seek out again as I really don't care for the taste. Also, it's not a good value ($3.20 for a single at a place that has the best prices in the area) at all for a "small" beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2010 00:21:48 | More by chcfan
Photo of BeerFMAndy


3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 4.2% ABV, Enjoy by 11 10 10.

A - Topped by a white head that wont leave, this lightly hazy golden yellow beer displays promise in the appearance alone. Lots of thick lace left on the glass.

S - Cascade hops are apparent through the opening aroma of lemon citrus, pineapple, and a herbal blend. Pale malts and straw fall behind and are largely overtaken by the voluptuous hops.

T - Hazy grain and straw adds a faint note to the pale malt backdrop. Lots of hops up front but it's still thin and underdeveloped. Main flavors consist of a herbal lemon grass, light fruit (pineapple) juice splash. A bit resiny.

M - Thin and very light-bodied, there isn't much here. Dry bitter resin finish could use some balance to it. Highly carbonated.

D - It's an easy drinking session ale but it lacks true flavor. Lots of hops won't make a beer great. Either a lower hop level should be achieved or it could a slight, slight boost in crystal malt (and subsequently body). For a light, session ale, its good, for an APA, not so much.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2010 19:39:49 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of vfgccp

New York

3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A - Lots of sediment, light gold

S - Amazing aroma. Sweet hops, honey, orange water.

T - Mildly-cedary hops, but it's more of a backdrop than a main event. Almost no malt.

M - Very carbonated. Very light, almost watery, body.

D - Super drinkable. The carbonation is refreshing, and the body and flavor are light on the palate.

O - I was disappointed by the flavor, there's almost nothing going on. For such a delicious bouquet, and great name breweries, I was hoping for something more.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2010 04:11:17 | More by vfgccp
Photo of Cavery


3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz shared with Klym at the start of a Friday session. Poured into small tulips.

A: A cloudy lemony yellow pale malt body with some decent small bubble foam. Modest retention is likely caused by a very violent moving body and lack of stickiness. Comes off very light in the visual, almost like a pale wheat ale. A decent ring of foam sticks around the edge of the glass.

S: Yummy light herbal hops with an almost pear skin like quality to it. There's a bit of a medicinal linger but not one that makes me feel like I'm getting my vitamins. I'm getting an actually kind of funky note of cucumber from the hops. Not bad, just comes off really light. The theme so far is lightness!

T: Once again, light. A fairly simple flavor of semi-old hops and supplement powders. There really is an aged taste to this thing, and it's really not very welcome. There doesn't seem to be any sign of infection, just kind of a funky mellow taste that takes the malt sweetness to a realm of bitter medicines. some mild orange rind before the medicine sets in.

M: An appropriately light slow bubble dissipation in the mouth. I like how there's a real effort to keep the theme of drinkability a top priority. Very light and almost air like, but still has a very noticeable IPA hop presence and general flavor transition. Not wet from alcohols, and not overly dry from the medicines. If the flavor could keep up with the mouth this would fair better.

O: I had this before, and I didn't remember it being this mediocre. I actually remember thinking it was very drinkable and respectable despite the suspicious low ABV and small clear-ish bottle. However, I think that this bottle may have seen a bit more time than it needed. The hops really come off tasting like a preservative, and the malt is ridden with cobwebs. This is an enjoyable beer fresh, but a mediocre beer without that element of freshness. Don't make a session ale out of this unless you are certain of the bottle date!

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2011 03:51:43 | More by Cavery
Photo of Stunner97

New Jersey

3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured with a very thing white lacing then faded quickly off and was amber in color with moderate carbonation. The beer had floral hop notes there on the nose but nothing crazy. Overall in flavor this beer was very one dimensional and really didnt blow me away in any direction. Showed just bitter hop tones with less the impressive malt tones and just kind of bland and simple, inoffensive but simple. Mouthfeel was very light and soft. The drinkability was okay on this beer but just nothing amazing overall. Its just kinda simple and lacking that overall wow that you get with a lot of the different stone products i have tried in the past. Basically if you were looking for a very good session ale this is a very much weaker beer then levitation which i would recommend much higher. To me considering price as well this beer was sort of a miss just nothing to go crazy for.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2010 03:58:14 | More by Stunner97
Photo of patobandito

New Mexico

3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very light, crisp golden color, very clear. Thin white head with some lacing. Smells very flowery, with not much else on the nose. Tastes mostly of flowery hops, and again, not much else. Pretty good beer, but somewhat unbalanced in my opinion. Would be hard to have more than a couple at a sitting, so calling it a session beer seems to be a bit of a misnomer.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2010 00:05:26 | More by patobandito
Photo of FunkyMacGroovin


3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden copper with lots of bubbles and a 1/2 finger head that is thick and foamy. A surprising amount of lacing is left on the glass as the foam subsides.

S: Strong hop aroma, both citrus and resin. It smells almost as hoppy as an IPA. There's a touch of grain on the nose, but it's very faint.

T: The hops are very strong for a pale ale, especially one with an abv this low. I like the hops on the front and mid-palate - fresh with some grapefruit and pine - but an intense bitterness comes on in the finish that lingers longer than I would like. There's very little malt backbone here, so the hops take control and leave things a bit out of balance.

M: Body is on the lighter side. Lots of carbonation lends a bit of crisp and a bit of creamy to the mouthfeel, without which I think the beer would come across as just being watery.

D: This may have a sessionable abv, but there's too much hop flavor for me to want more than one. I'm halfway through the bottle and the bitter taste at the back of my mouth is just getting stronger.

I think the idea of creating a session ale is great, but this one doesn't cut it. If the hops were dialed back a bit this could be a much better brew.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2010 02:46:19 | More by FunkyMacGroovin
Photo of GregoryMo


3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

12-16-2012 04:42:00 | More by GregoryMo
Photo of sway0925

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma smells of a light citrus style ale with a nice balance of hops, but not too must as to over power the nose.

This beer does what is says it is a session beer, the taste is very light and well balanced. Unfortunately it is hard to pin point specific notes within this beer. I can pick up a slight floral note due to the hops followed by a very weak taste of citrus and some light malt. The body to this beer is not complex at all they kept it very simple but gave it enough taste to be recognizable. The only down fall i see with this beer is the price, although i would have love to see something with a little more body the price throws me off for round two.

Overall a good session beer as an in between beer but nothing compared to some of the other collaborations.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2010 02:59:18 | More by sway0925
Photo of Arbitrator


3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased from K&L in Redwood City.

Ok, ok... This is "not a session ale" by Ding's definition, but since that has never been substantiated by any concrete proof (to my knowledge), I will arbitrarily grant a +/- 5% swing. 4.2% is now sessionable.

A: Pours a murky, glowing orange body in my Hair of the Dog tulip. I poured carefully so I could get it all in the glass in one go. Nonetheless, it maintains a nice cap with a substantial collar for the duration of the drink. Nice.

S: Citrus! It doesn't have the clean, bright aromas of Sculpin; it is instead tempered with a dose of herbal hops, grass, and a touch of pale malt. This is a dead ringer for an IPA.

T: This is extremely hoppy, as the nose might suggest. Unfortunately, that's about it. There's a light maltiness, but I can't pick up anything else. It has a nice grapefruit, orange peel, and grass flavor going on, with the last component lingering into the finish for some remaining bitterness.

M: Dry finish with lingering bitterness. The body is light-medium. Clean flavor, but truthfully, I'd liken it to "watery."

D: I'm not realistically going to pay $4 for this again; I bought it to show my support for the experiment more than anything. Not a successful one in my eyes. What ever happened to the balanced, subtle, refined English malt that Ding is always talking about? This is just dry-hopped to death.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2010 07:47:09 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of Kanyon22


3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Murphy's tumbler pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy dull orange color with a super frothy head that is just sitting there doing nothing, which is quite amazing.

S: Citrusy grapefruit with a piney resiny, typical west coast hopped beer smell. Wish I could smell some malts but hops really dominating nose, which isn't a bad thing.

T: Starts out smooth almost lager like, then hits you with a nice zip of the citrus hop and has a pungent clean bitterness at the end. I know at 4.20% abv. the grain bill would be low, but this one seems none existent compared to the hops. Nothing but hops, hops and more hops, which is okay but after your palate is numb to the hops there really is nothing to keep you interested.

M: It sits on the light side of they style verging on watery. It also seems to be lacking carbonation, also has a slight resiny piney coating in the throat.

D: Its an easy drinker for sure at 4.20% abv. but after hops kill your mouth your left with an easy drinking beer that gets boring really quick.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2010 14:20:02 | More by Kanyon22
Photo of kbutler1


3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a clear, fairly effervescent golden color with a fluffy 1 finger head. The aroma is that of citrus rind hops the like of grapefruit and orange. Medium/light mouthfeel. The hops on this take center stage throughout your whole drink, starting with a slight bitterness that just keeps building until the end. Slight soapiness in the taste. Not a whole lot of lace left on the glass. Lingering rind bitterness. Overall, an ok beer but not sure if I would want to session this all day or not.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2010 18:31:20 | More by kbutler1
Photo of beertunes


3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in straight pint glass. This beer was very lively and the bartender had a hard getting more beer than head in the glass. It poured a semi-hazy orangeish-yellow with a lot of white head that had moderate retention and lots of lacing.

A very strong pine hop aroma greets the nose without a noticeable malt foundation. The piney hops also dominate the tongue, again no noticeable malt presence. There was a weird taste that I couldn't identify, even after trying the beer several times. Kind of metallic or coppery, but different.

The body was too thin to be enjoyable. Other than the weird taste, drinkability was pretty good. I've had several and will have more.

Serving type: on-tap

10-08-2010 21:58:24 | More by beertunes
Photo of ncvbc

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pour is clear golden with medium white head and some lacing down the glass. Good smell of fresh, strong-ish hops. Fresh, green, yummy. Seems stronger than labeled based on the nose. Taste falls short for me. A tad watered down, likely due to a lack of any malt presence. The hops are there, citrus and pine. Quite bitter but again, watery, therefore lacking that crisp/dry sensation on the level that it should be. Fairly one dimensional. I feel that the choice of hops and the overwhelming presence of the hops in this beer are more suited for an IPA than anything. Mouthfeel has a sure bitterness but is a tad thin. Overall, I wouldn't want another. To me, this is a good example of a session beer that falls short of session material. It just doesn't have any redeemable qualities that would bring me back. It's like a watered down baby Sculpin in regard to hop flavor. So to that I ask, wouldn't you rather have a Sculpin?

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2010 05:14:50 | More by ncvbc
Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 371 ratings.